Ali Williams set for UK TV debut

Ali Williams. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Ali Williams. Photo / Brett Phibbs

He once had the nickname of 'Comical Ali' but former All Black Ali Williams is likely to have his serious head on when he makes his debut as television presenter in the United Kingdom early next month.

But it looks like there is no room for two other UK-based All Black World Cup winners who have been long-term commentators on the BBC and ITV networks.

Neither Sean Fitzpatrick or Zinzan Brooke, both 1987 World Cup victors, have been included in either network line-up despite lengthy careers behind the microphone since they moved to England.

Williams, now based in London and who also describes himself as Dan Carter's media manager, has been named in the BBC presenting team for its coverage of the Six Nations tournament starting on February 6.

BBC is going head-to-head with bitter rivals ITV over tournament coverage with both networks unveiling their commentary and presentation teams overnight.

Williams is among a bevy of former internationals in the BBC presenting team which also includes ex-England and Lions midfield back Jeremy Guscott, Welsh legend Jonathan Davies, ex-England players Mike Tindall, Brian Moore and Lewis Moody, Ireland's Keith Wood, Brian Moore and Frenchman Thomas Castaignede.

The BBC team will be led by veteran broadcaster John Inverdale and Gabby Logan with Williams and company providing expert analysis. The commentary team will be led by former Wales No. 8 Eddie Butler.

Their ITV rivals have also assembled a stellar line-up of former internationals heading by Jonny Wilkinson, Gareth Thomas and Brian O'Driscoll. Former Scotland and Lions coach Sir Ian McGeechan is also a key presenter.

Fitzpatrick has long been a part of ITV's rugby coverage team and worked for the network at last year's World Cup in England and Wales. Brooke has previously worked for the BBC.

But neither appears to be wanted for the Six Nations with Williams, once known as 'Comical Ali' for his occasionally bizarre press conferences during his playing career, is the only New Zealander involved, although three of the competing national teams are coached by Kiwis in Wales (Warren Gatland), Scotland (Vern Cotter) and Ireland (Joe Schmidt).

The 2016 Six Nations marks the start of a six-year deal between the BBC and ITV that will see the matches shared between the broadcasters on television and online.

The BBC will have exclusive television coverage of four of the first six games from the tournament including the Calcutta Cup game between Scotland and England from Murrayfield.

Meanwhile, on ITV, Mark Pougatch leads the broadcast team with Lawrence Dallaglio and Jason Robinson - both members of England's victorious Rugby World Cup 2003 team, along with their coach Sir Clive Woodward - will join Wilkinson, Thomas and O'Driscoll in their line-up.

ITV will show both of England's home games.

More than 24million people watched the BBC's coverage of last year's Six Nations.

- staff reporter and Daily Mail

- Daily Mail

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW
Stats provided by

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf04 at 08 Dec 2016 17:16:37 Processing Time: 655ms